Remembering members of the Williston Northampton community

Emmett R. Harmon ’66

Emmett Richard Harmon was born on March 27, 1944, in Monrovia, Liberia, the first child of Ambassador Emmett Lafayette Harmon and Irene Malvina Wiles. As a boy, Emmett was bright and athletic and excelled in most all endeavors he engaged in. When Emmett was 8 years old, he was enrolled at the Institut auf dem Rosenberg in St. Gallen, Switzerland. When Emmett arrived in St. Gallen, he did not speak German. That soon changed and ultimately, Emmett became a polyglot speaking French, English, and German fluently, while also being conversant in Italian and Romansh. While in boarding school Emmett would split his summers with his friends from boarding school in Germany and with his family at home in Monrovia. Emmett maintained his relationships with his boarding school friends for over 65 years as they held bi-annual reunions throughout Europe that Emmett still regularly attended; he had recently traveled with his son Michael to France for a reunion. As a child, when Emmett would return to Liberia, he would spend time with his cousins, who were like his brothers and sisters. There was a large group of cousins from the Wiles family that stayed at the house of Richard and Mae Wiles at 99 Broad Street in Monrovia, Liberia. Emmett would spend his time at home from boarding school with his cousins, Maakai, Neshee, and Myrna, who were like sisters to Emmett. Emmett also grew up with the children of his uncle and aunt, Ambassador George Padmore and the Ambassador’s wife Mai Padmore, Arthur, Edward, Gerald, Ronnie and James. Emmett was very close to the Padmore boys and they grew up as brothers. Although a few years younger, Emmett was fond of his cousins Mimah and Bill and their dear father Uncle Pipi, who served as Liberian Ambassador to the Court of St. James (UK) where Emmett would spend holidays as a boy. Emmett and his cousins founded their social group, The Literary Club, in Monrovia and lived a jet-setting life style between the U.S., Europe, Liberia and Africa’s west coast during the 1950s and 1960s. Upon graduating from boarding school, Emmett followed his cousins Arthur and Gerald Padmore and moved to the United States and enrolled as a post graduate student at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where he played soccer and prepared to take American college entry exams. Emmett was an active member of the Williston Northampton alumni community and regularly donated and kept up with developments at the school. Upon completion of his post graduate year at Williston Northampton, Emmett enrolled at Columbia University in New York, New York where he received his bachelor’s degree. Emmett’s children fondly remember their father singing the Columbia University Fight Song, “We Are the Stuff (AKA “Who Owns New York”)” in his baritone. Coincidentally, “Stuff” is a nickname that Emmett’s cousins Arthur and Gerald lovingly used to refer to him. In May 1967, Emmett was introduced to Cecily Judith Sawyer at the wedding reception of his cousin Pitman Harmon to Cecily’s college mate and dear friend Jackie Hardaway. Emmett and Cecily married in 1970 in New York before returning to Monrovia to raise a family. Emmett and Cecily ultimately had three sons, Michael Emmett, Kiadii Hale, and Lami Matthew. Michael was born in Liberia while Kiadii and Lami were born in the United States. Upon moving back to the United States in 1973, Emmett began working at Simplicity Patterns as a sales representative covering the Mid-Atlantic states. Emmett and Cecily always planned to return home to Liberia and during Christmas of 1979 they returned to Liberia with their sons Michael and Kiadii. In April of 1980 there was a coup in Liberia. Emmett and Cecily returned to the United States and their home in Delaware became a haven to many Liberian family members. Several years later, Emmett was offered a position in Financial Services with Wilmington Trust in their Corporate Client Services division as an assistant vice-president. He was the first person of color hired as an assistant vice-president at Wilmington Trust. Twenty-five years later, Emmett was named the Managing Director of Wilmington Trust Europe and expanded Wilmington Trust’s business to the Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands, and throughout Europe while also establishing and forming Wilmington Trust’s office in London, United Kingdom. Emmett was regarded by his professional colleagues as a gentleman who did not need the spotlight to shine on him and as someone who was dedicated to helping younger professionals advance their careers. Outside of work, Emmett was an avid athlete well into his 70s, until his sight began to fail him. He was a regular at the Rodney Street Tennis Courts in Wilmington, Delaware and at the Brandywine Racquet Club in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He was also a youth coach for all of his sons in soccer and was a ski instructor at a local ski mountain in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Ever the devoted father, Emmett also instilled his athleticism in his children. He could regularly be found with his sons at the park, playing soccer, tennis, lacrosse and basketball, often all of those sports in the same day. Emmett was also a known and regular entity on the sidelines of The Tatnall School in Greenville, Delaware, from the 1990s through the aughts watching his sons compete and succeed in sport for the Tatnall Hornets. Emmett also took great pride in being on the sidelines of the University of Denver Pioneers soccer team, watching his son Lami excel at the sport that was also Emmett’s first athletic passion. Emmett was also a gourmand and his life experiences and travel afforded him the opportunity to sample some of the finest foods and wines the world has to offer. Emmett translated this experience into the kitchen himself as an excellent cook and he taught each of his sons their culinary skills. Additionally, Emmett was an avid skier ever since his days in boarding school in Switzerland. Emmett taught all of his sons to ski from a young age and it was an activity Emmett engaged in for over 70 years. He took his family all over the world to ski, whether Kitzbuhel in the Austrian Tyrol, Aspen Mountain in the Colorado Rockies or Val D’Isere in the French Alps, Emmett was at his happiest on the piste with his family. In addition to being a role model for his sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins, Emmett was the senior statesman for the Harmon family and had served as the Chairman of the Harmon Family Reunion Committee. Along with his talented cousins, Emmett was instrumental in planning and organizing the Harmon family reunions. He was a primary source for understanding and explaining the Liberian socio-political environment and the Harmon family’s historical and significant role in Liberian society and history. Emmett’s father was an Ambassador for the nation of Liberia, his maternal grandfather Richard Wiles was Speaker of the Liberian House, his paternal grandfather Hale Lafayette Harmon was a Liberian Senator from Grand Bassa County and a senior Liberian diplomat who had an audience with Queen Victoria, his paternal great grandfather Samuel George Harmon was the Vice-President of Liberia, and Emmett’s uncle Louis Arthur Grimes was the Chief Justice of the Liberian Supreme Court. Emmett spent his formative years listening to and learning from his family who held a number of prominent positions in Liberian government and society. It was primarily via Emmett’s oration that many of us learned the stories of our relatives or the intricacies of the Liberian Constitution of 1986, or the impact of the 1765 Stamp Act on the formation of the United States, or the myriad topics which Emmett had an expert level of knowledge of. He was a stalwart example of intellectualism, self-reliance and positivism. Emmett was a voracious reader and had a quiet countenance that belied the vastness and depth of his knowledge which was complemented by his ability to teach and share that knowledge. Emmett was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by a host of loving family including his ex-wife: Cecily Sawyer Harmon. His sons and daughters-in-law: Michael Emmett Sawyer Harmon (Annie Elizabeth Hellerstein Harmon), Kiadii Hale Sawyer Harmon (Mary Kathryn (Kate) Hodges Harmon), and Lami Matthew Sawyer Harmon. His grandchildren: Edina Rose Harmon, Emm Charlie Harmon, Eliana Mae Harmon, and Lafayette Kateswill Harmon. His sisters: Jewel Harmon, Esquire, Mariet Harmon, and Dr. Ruby Harmon. And a multitude of cousins, nieces and nephews that formed the core of Emmett’s life. Dad, Grandad, Grandaddy, Cousin Emmett, Uncle Emmett, Mr. Harmon or just Emmett he was loved, respected and he lived a full life that has inspired his family members to love one another, be kind, and live our best lives. He will be missed and remembered. A celebration of Emmett’s life will be held on Saturday, July 10th 2021 at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church Newark, DE 19711. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the St. Thomas Episcopal Church Discretionary Fund which can be located at the following website. www.stthomasnewarkde.church

Walter H. Clemens ’47

Walter Clemens passed away peacefully on April 2, 2021, after a long illness; he was 92. At his passing he was surrounded by his daughters and one of his devoted caregivers. He was the only child born to Beth Keeney Clemens and Arnold Walter Clemens in New London, Connecticut on October 28, 1928. Walter graduated from Bulkeley School and Williston Academy before attending Yale University.
At Yale, Walter was a divisional major in economics and psychology, he played one year of freshman football and three years of varsity football under coach Herman Hickman, in the position of left tackle. He was selected and played on the North side of the 1950 North/South Shrine game in Miami, Florida on Christmas night. In 1950 he was also awarded The New Haven Gridiron Trophy as the outstanding player to appear in the Yale Bowl and was the first Yale football player selected to play in the Senior Bowl Game on January 6, 1951 in Mobile, Alabama.
Upon graduating Yale in 1951, Walter joined the Marines and was sent to Paris Island, South Carolina, and was later stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. On Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1951, he married Margaret (Peggy) Dwyer. Walter was devoted to Peggy and their marriage lasted 63 years until Peggy’s death in 2015. Walt was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1953.
Walter spent almost 40 years in the insurance brokerage business. He started with The Travelers and then moved on to Johnson & Higgins, at the time, the largest privately held international insurance brokerage and benefit consulting concern in the world. Walt remained at J&H for the rest of his career. He was Chairman of the California Corporation and served as one of three Executive Vice Presidents of the parent company.
While Walter enjoyed many activities in his retirement, including traveling, golf, and swimming, his greatest pleasure was to spend time with family.
Walter leaves behind, his three children: Mark William Clemens ’71 (Kimberly), Marybeth Clemens Anicich, (Greg) and Susan Clemens; three grandchildren, Kathryn Anicich Elze, (Derek) Laura Nicole Cowan, (Alvin), and Michael Gessner Boileau, (Laura); and four great grandchildren, Dakoda Addison Elze, Emma Kaye Elze, Stella Rose Cowan and Maximillian Meyers Boileau.
A celebration of life will be held at St. Perpetua’s Catholic Church on July 29, 2021, at 11 a.m. Donations can be made in Walter’s name to hospiceeastbay.org or mailed to Hospice of the East Bay, 3740 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.

David Howells III ’67

David Howells, III, 72, passed away suddenly on Saturday, June 5, 2021. Born in Troy, NY, he was the son of the late David Howells II and Elizabeth McBride Howells. He was a graduate of Williston Academy in Northampton Massachusetts, St. Lawrence University, and the University of Albany. He was a longtime resident of Niskayuna, NY. David was married for 47 years to Janice Mazzochi Howells. He is survived by their two sons Brian D. Howells (wife Laura) of Milton, MA and Derek M. Howells (wife Kate) of Millersville, MD; his beloved grandchildren Evelyn, Sydney, Caden, and Hadley; and his sister Lynda B. Howells (wife Claire) of Randolph Center, VT. David worked as a planner, project team member, and grantsman for the Eddy Health Heath System in Albany, NY. He most recently served as the Director of Planning for Northeast Health. Concurrent to his planning duties, David held numerous positions in operations as the administrator of the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, Director of the Home Aide Services of Eastern New York, and Senior Planner for the Eddy PACE Program as well as numerous Eddy Visiting Nurse Association programs. He enjoyed skiing, golf, and classic cars. He was a member of the Porsche Club of America. Following his nearly 40 years of supporting the Eddy / Northeast Health / St. Peter’s Health Partners growth, David joined the Board of Directors of the Albany Guardian Society, a program to foster all aspects of an age-friendly community. Private services will be held for the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in David’s memory to: Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, Resident Activity Fund, at 2256 Burdett Ave., Troy, NY 12180 or The Albany Guardian Society’s educational programs, 14 Corporate Woods Blvd., Suite 102, Albany, NY 12211.

Judith Schwartz Berg ’56

Judith Berg died on December 10, 2020 at the age of 82. Judy was born in Fall River, MA, daughter of the late Joseph Schwartz and the late Lillian (Baskin) Schwartz, both of Fall River; and sister of the late E. Robert Schwartz. She leaves behind her daughter, Paula Berg and granddaughter, Lila Berg, of Wayland, MA, and her son and daughter-in-law, Steven Berg and Cynthia Scuderi, of Portsmouth, NH. As a child, Judy loved singing, art and social events. She received her teaching degree from Bridgewater State College when her youngest child was four, beginning a thirty -two year career as an elementary special education teacher in the Fall River Public Schools. She was beloved by her many students and will be remembered as a patient, dedicated and stable presence. Judy volunteered for many years for the Samaritans, where she worked the suicide prevention hotline. She was a loving and present daughter, mother and grandmother. After she raised her children, Judy enjoyed sharing many great years as a foster mother to one of her former students. Judy was fun-loving, carefree and loved to travel. She was a caring friend and trusted confidante to many, enjoying many deep and lifelong friendships. Judy lived in the moment and embraced every day. Judy was most happy with the time she spent with her granddaughter, Lila, whom she loved with her whole heart and soul. A Graveside Service will be held at 12noon in Temple Beth El Cemetery, 4620 N. Main Street, Fall River, on December 11, 2020, all are welcome. A celebration of Judy’s life will be held when it is safe to gather in person.

Susan Bray Walker ’48

Susan Bray Walker of Scarsdale, NY, died on April 2, 2020 at White Plains Hospital.

Mrs. Walker was born Jan. 21, 1930 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Edward Emmett Bray and Margaret Mary Keane Bray. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and worked as an advertising copywriter for McCann-Erickson Inc. in New York City before marrying her husband John and raising their family in Scarsdale.

An enthusiastic civic volunteer, Mrs. Walker served on the board of The Arc Westchester Foundation for many years, served as president of the Westchester Smith College Club, president of the Scarsdale chapter of the American Field Service, president of the Scarsdale Parent-Teacher Association, treasurer of the Town and Village Civic Club and served on several committees for the village of Scarsdale.

Her family said Mrs. Walker was an extraordinary advocate for people with disabilities, and those she worked with remember her as a woman whose quiet voice never failed to raise matters of importance. Her family remembered her as dedicated to the love and well-being of her family. They said she took great pride in the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren and loved and supported them all unconditionally.

Mrs. Walker is survived by her husband, John David Walker; her two sons, David Bray Walker and his wife Elizabeth of Greenwich, and William Alexander Walker and his wife Amy Walsh of Brooklyn; her five grandchildren: Anne, Catherine and Sarah Walker and Henry and John Walker; and her brother, David Bray, of Sag Harbor and Greenport, New York. She was predeceased by her daughter, Elizabeth Grace Walker.

Mrs. Walker will be laid to rest at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye. In light of the ongoing public health emergency, there will be no in-person service prior to the burial. A memorial celebration of her life will be scheduled at an appropriate time in the future.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be mailed to the Arc of Westchester, 265 Saw Mill River Road, Hawthorne, NY 10532 or online at arcwestchester.org.

John S. Konheim ’61

John Konheim passed away on Sunday, May 30, 2021, the day before Memorial Day, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 78. John was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Bud, and by his wife Lynne (Taylor) Konheim, and his wife Jane (Sampson) Konheim. He is survived by his partner-in-life Anne Ekstrom, his dear family-by-choice Michelle Wood and her children, his loving sisters Barbara Kolb and Jane Kasov and his loving niece and nephews and their families and by certain people he regarded as family. John was generous in his love and concern for others. Throughout his life he collected people in a loving embrace. He did everything he could to aid or befriend them, and the people who were closest to him had that quality too.

He was given a good start in life by parents he always greatly admired, learned to achieve just by being one of four children in a home that was a busy hub, and was given a fine academic and spiritual education at Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He explored New York City when he was on vacation from Williston, mingling with and getting to know the work of all the many people who interested him.

He began to draw quick sketches with a Rapidograph pen, in art class. Soon he could quick-sketch entire scenes such as weddings or buildings such as a Japanese temple. (Visit konheim-art.com for a gallery of sketches from all over the world and his artist autobiography.) Fifty years later he could be seen amiably and routinely sketching folks in their friendship or family groups on a local Florida beach, or, now as a tourist, sitting and sketching the street scene in Saigon where children gathered round to see him work.

For college he chose a New York school, Columbia, his father’s alma mater, and studied while pursuing a wide variety of interests or working. John often drove a cab, once in a blizzard when there were no cabs out at all, he proudly told a nephew. An activist for student social rights at Columbia, he got coverage from Gael Greene of the “Times.” In his travels abroad in the Sixties, he acted boldly in Berlin when he saw help was needed to get friends out to the West. John was not risk averse when it came to stepping in quickly to help and often achieved dramatic successes.

In 1968, a few years after graduation, he joined the Army, went through training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and completed a tour of duty in Vietnam. Already proficient in French, he applied himself now to acquiring Vietnamese language and dialect quickly and ultimately got to interview Montagnard children and record their music near where he was stationed. He also made audiotapes of battles, (for example: YouTube – Konheim – Vietnam Battle Field Audio November 1969). He and Lynne (Taylor) announced their engagement via a joint audiotape from Vietnam and Michigan, which they sent to parents and family around the U.S.

John lived in Columbus, Ohio and worked as an insurance broker/agent for many years. It was a great job for him, involving assessing risk and helping people. For fun, he and Lynne belonged to a friendship group that took lessons in social dancing at their gatherings. They also invited people onto their houseboat on the long, narrow reservoir near their home. They were deeply connected to Lynne’s family as well as his over the years.

As volunteers in Columbus, Ohio he and his wife hosted opera singers from all over who were engaged for rehearsals and performances in Columbus. As part of their hosting foreign economic visitors to Columbus, they visited Cuba with an economic mission from Columbus. On their last day in Havana, John was detained for sketching his hotel, the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Luckily, he found a business card in his pocket (from a finance minister he’d just met with) to show the police, and they then whisked him out of jail in time to make the plane home. Lynne and John continued to take foreign trips accepting the risks that go with it.

When John lost his first wife, he was brought low but did not give up on life. In time, he met Jane. They celebrated their wedding with a crowd of friends and family on board a ferry that picked them up from their dock, cruised the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale, and at the end of the evening started to catch on fire a little bit. But all was well; he and Jane had many happy years together and moved permanently to Fort Lauderdale. He embraced her family, and she embraced his wide circle of friends in Fort Lauderdale and Columbus as well as his siblings and families. Together they created art, exhibiting with art societies in Columbus and Fort Lauderdale. Jane did a fine painting of John’s beloved cat Cristal, a beautiful white cat, smart enough to learn to ride on John’s bike to the delight of onlookers as John rode daily around Fort Lauderdale.

John found himself bereft when Jane passed away suddenly. His ability to move forward and reclaim life was never more striking than in these years. With time, he went out and about. He served as president of his co-op organization, worked at his insurance business innovating a way to do health insurance economically for the buyer. He joined Single Sailors and met Anne Ekstrom, who served as Vice Commodore of the sailing association. She was an inspiration to him. John and she found new happiness together. They traveled to Italy; they went on a cruise to Colombia. John bought a sailboat and daringly sailed it up from Miami running aground along the way. After that he worked on it till both he (the captain) and the boat’s auxiliary electric motor were shaped up and ready to go out through the Intracoastal and into the ocean, and, of course, guests could come aboard.

As John grew older, he found a way to connect with his much older brother Bud: He called him every day to talk. Bud said at lunch with a cousin a few years ago that he found John’s loyalty remarkable and moving. For John there were no tests to meet when it came to love. There was only love. As his sister Barbara said of him, John made the world a better place because he lived in it.

Dana E. Whitcomb ’65

Dana Eugene Whitcomb, 74, of Lawton, Oklahoma passed away Thursday, May 13, 2021 at his home on Fort Sill.
Dana was born September 21, 1946 in Holyoke, Massachusetts to James R. and Velma M. Whitcomb (Boucher). He graduated from the Williston Academy and then attended and graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
He enjoyed watching his favorite teams, the Cleveland Browns and Indians. He also enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family and dog Gunner.
Dana is survived by his son, Dana Whitcomb, II and wife Tyi; daughter, Krista Banks and partner Jerry Wilkins; four grandchildren, Christian L. Banks, Jordan N. Banks, Shaela Duncan and Dana E. Whitcomb, III; brother, James R. Whitcomb and sister Meredith Whitcomb. Dana was preceded in death by his parents.
There are no services planned at this time.

James A. Ubertalli ’48

James Arthur Ubertalli peacefully departed this life Thursday, May 27, 2021 at his home with his family by his side. Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, November 4, 1928, the son of James “Jack” and Christine (Demers) Ubertalli, he attended Holyoke Public Schools and Williston Academy, and earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.
While working in Atlanta as a technical advisor for Orkin Exterminating, he met his wife, Barbara. The young couple lived in Texas for a few years where they developed a life-long passion for Mexican food, music and culture. Jim and his young family returned to New England where he continued his work in entomology as a manager for Terminix Industries. He also worked as a graduate entomologist serving the Baystate Medical System Environmental Services team as educator, technician and lecturer and retiring in 2003.
The call to serve led Jim to join the U.S. Army ROTC while a student at UMass. He was a tank commander headed to Korea when the Pentagon recruited him, because of his entomological expertise, to be a technical advisor for the Army Medical Services Corps. Jim served in the Army Reserves for 28 years, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Among the many leadership positions he held, he was most proud of his role on the faculty of The United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the renowned graduate military college. In recent years, he found immense pride and camaraderie with a new band of brothers at the American Legion Post 351 and served as District Historian.
His quiet affability and keen sense of humor earned him many friends. Jim was proud of his hometown, Holyoke, and was called upon and gladly served in many volunteer capacities including Sunday School teacher and deacon of the Second Congregational Church, fire commissioner, youth hockey coach and scoutmaster of Troop 670 where he mentored many Eagle Scouts. He was also a lifelong sports fan and enjoyed some glory as starting center for Holyoke High football and Williston Academy where he was part of the school’s celebrated undefeated team, the first in fifty years. In retirement, he spent time oil painting WWII aircraft and birds, reading voluminous historical accounts on the American Civil War and WWll and traveling with his family annually to Disneyworld and other far-flung destinations. Jim will be remembered by the lives he touched for his warm kindness, gentle sense of humor and keen interest in learning and sharing what he had learned.
He leaves behind his beloved wife of 65 years, Barbara, his daughter Donna Lee and son Jimmy and daughter-in-law Harriet, his grandchildren Sophia and George, his brother Don, nieces Linda and JoAnne and nephew Jack. Exceptional in his humility, passionately proud and loyal to his friends and family, he will be dearly missed.
A Funeral Home Service will be held for Jim on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 9:30am in the Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home, 2049 Northampton Street, Holyoke followed by Committal with Military Honors at 11:00am in the Chapel of the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1390 Main Street, Agawam. Calling hours will be held on Thursday, June 3, 2021 from 4:00 to 7:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in memory of James A. Ubertalli to support cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via www.jimmyfund.org/gift.

Ellen J. Tabachnick ’71

Ellen Judith Tabachnick, 68, of San Francisco, CA, passed away from cancer on March 24, 2021 in Boston, MA. Ellen was the daughter of the late Dr. Henry and Betty (Greenberg) Tabachnick of Portland, Maine. She grew up in a large Portland house, where the family lived upstairs from her father’s practice. Her father was generous and outgoing, a congenial man. Portland notables were always in and out of the house. It was an active, lively household. In her early years Ellen attended Portland Hebrew Day School and later enrolled in Waynflete College Preparatory School, Portland and Northampton School For Girls in Northampton, Massachusetts. She completed an advanced three-year Bachelor of Arts degree at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

Ellen’s greatest passion was the pursuit of justice. She developed an early concern for the oppressed. While in her teens Ellen volunteered at a local prison community with the goal of advancing conditions for the inmates. Later, in order to actualize her quest for an equitable society, Ellen earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Cal Western Law School, San Diego.

Ellen practiced law at Contra Costa Legal Services Foundation, in California. However, she was not your average attorney. A cross between Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Bella Abzug, Ellen was a force to be reckoned with, a woman who seized life by both lapels. She began her practice as a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow, educating low-income community groups about their legal rights and responsibilities while carrying a full caseload challenging termination of government benefits. She believed holeheartedly in civil liberties, justice and a level playing field. Ellen’s imaginative legal insights, her indefatigable passion, and pure chutzpah enabled her to win most of her cases.

In particular, Ellen championed the Hmong’s community right to communicate with government agencies in their own language. A dedicated, fierce and creative advocate, she succeeded in assisting many families retain their benefits. Ellen spent her final years as a pro bono advocate for undocumented persons, including minors threatened with deportation.

She loved music. Forever the life of the party, Ellen would pick up her guitar and play folk tunes for the children or sit at the piano, her father’s Stetson firmly atop her head, and bang out the score from “Fiddler on the Roof”. She was bighearted, generous. She never forgot a birthday, and enjoyed giving presents even when there was nothing in particular to celebrate. Giving was in her heart and one could not refuse. She was Auntie Ellen, Aunty-Godmother Ellen, Auntie Chicklet, Ms. Civil Liberties, Ellie. She was our own Auntie Mame, a woman brimming with life, a justice warrior who lived unequivocally by the concept in Judaism of tikkun olam, ‘repair the world’.

In addition to her parents, Ellen was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Tabachnick, and her nephew, Henry Tabachnick. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Aileen Tabachnick, and her nephews Jacob, Abraham, and Elijah Tabachnick. Ellen is buried at Beth El Memorial Park, Portland, Maine alongside her father, mother, and nephew.

Donations in Ellen’s memory can be sent to:
The Campaign for Justice https://caforjustice.org/

George L. Pezzini ’54

George L. Pezzini passed away peacefully in Camarillo, CA on May 15, 2021. He was born July 2, 1931 in Pittsfield, MA. Attended Williston Academy and University of Massachusetts.

George enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in June 1949, assigned to Head Quarters 85th Maintenance Group where he received the Occupation Medal (Germany). He was honorably discharged in November 1952.

George is a past member of the IBEW, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club member and Hillcrest Hospital Board of Directors. He was a St. Mark’s Catholic Church parishioner and Knights of Columbus member until moving to Anaheim California in 1977, where he and his family joined St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church and then St. Mary Magdalen church in Camarillo, CA. He was also a mentor with Casa Pacifica Child Advocacy Group in Camarillo.

One of George’s proudest professional accomplishments was his leadership in the electrical design and contracting of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

George is predeceased by his parents George L. Pezzini, Sr., and Jane Cavallaro Pezzini, and son Stephen Pezzini.

George is survived by wife Claire Guiltinan Pezzini of 65 years, sons Peter (Margit) of Rosamond, CA, John (Debbie) of Heath, TX, Michael (MaryJo) of Wasilla, AK, daughter-in-law Pierangela Davisson of Woodinville, WA, daughters Catherine Nelson of Wimberley, TX and Anne Parker (Kevin) of Park City, UT. Nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held in Camarillo, CA at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, June 18, 2021, followed by a reception at Spanish Hills Country Club.

Remembering members of the Williston Northampton community